Single telecommunications market on the cards for Europe

Extortionate phone bills when travelling around Europe could be a thing of the past should European Commission’s plan for a single European telecoms market come to fruition. 

Currently Scots travelling round Europe – whether for business or pleasure – face paying roaming rates for accessing other countries mobile networks. The EU has previously limited these amounts by capping the amount operators can charge, however under plans to be unveiled by Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda to the European Parliament these would be eliminated with creation of a single telecoms market.

Scots MEP Alyn Smith has previously backed calls to limit the amount operators can charge for roaming services and believes that the creation of a single European telecoms market would be a victory for consumers and help create investment across the continent.

A single telecommunications market in Europe has struggled previously due to the traditional landline services being state operated, however with a decline in landline usage and increase in wireless communications bringing it into the single market is believed to be possible. It would also help alleviate concerns that Europe is falling behind the United States and Asia in wireless technologies.

Commenting, MEP Alyn Smith said:

“A single European market for telecommunications is long overdue and this announcement by the Commission is eagerly anticipated. It will only be good for the sector by inviting investment and research development, but also consumers who currently have to pay over the odds in roaming fees when travelling around the continent.

“The European Parliament has already enacted a cap of costs for phone calls, text messages and data usage but a single European telecoms market is the outcome that everyone from the industry to the EU want to see happen.

“Europe is falling behind North America and Asia in the sector, with this we can properly compete on the global level and ensure that European citizens get the best service for their money.

“This is by no means a certainty, with the European Parliament’s elections and new Commission on the horizon it will be difficult but I believe it can become a reality in the not too distant future.”

European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes is expected to make the call in a speech to the European Parliament today [Thursday] saying in a comment to Reuters that her vision for the sector was "pan-European operators helping consumers take advantage of a borderless market" as well as "increased investment in quality networks and content."

See here: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/05/29/uk-eutelco-kroes-idUKBRE94S17M20130529

Her full speech is available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-484_en.htm